Brian's Gone


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Scene Title Brian's Gone
Synopsis In the aftermath of Samara's unpleasant awakening, plans are made and put into action.
Date March 1, 2011

Bay House

Breakfast is over and has been over for a good hour at least. The younger kids are all fed and sent off to play, leaving Koshka to clear away dishes and clean up the general mess. It was pancakes this morning, and pancakes the way the teenager makes them tends to be a little messy. Batter spills speckle the counters and stove top and there's far more dirty dishes that need to be washed than there ought to be.

So the dishes gathered up, some soaking and others waiting their turn. A stack of cakes leftover resting on a plate near the stove. Koshka scrapes at the spilled batter with a knife, the places that have cooked on and don't wipe up easily.

Sami has been unusually silent today. Her very manner is disrupted, silent, stoic. She got the kids up, had urged them to come eat, but it wasn't in her usual chipper 'top of the morning' tone. Her cheeks are pale, nearly sickly, and she hadn't. Didn't have the stomach for it, not even a little. Not even though she's mostly found her appetite in recent days. But she'd put on a smile. An uneasy, tenuous, pained, broken smile. A non-smile. Easily seen through. Easily dismissed as nothing more than some cosmic farce or a sad attempt at a brave face. Not talking makes it easy. Silence is as uneasy as the air surrounding it.

The hoodie she wears, Brian's hoodie, swims over her body, folding just above the knees that she hugs to her chest. The chair on which she perches is as uncomfortable as the silence. But then, she's the adult here. She needs to make this place function, even if this turns out to be some realization of her worst fear: not only does she not exist on paper, she fails to exist in memory to the one person to whom she's supposed to be most important.

Her head faces forward, towards the wall, and her tone is deadpan, free of inflection when she speaks, "You're no longer grounded." It's a quiet statement, but clear enough. "You can't be." Not with Brian gone, acting like he'd never met her.

Koshka turns to look at Samara, not quite startled, but she'd thought herself alone in the kitchen. She'd seen Sam's distraught demeanor, watched through breakfast though her own mood was kept light enough, engaging in banter with the children. But the sadness niggled and plans to seek Sami out after breakfast were made. After breakfast and cleaning.

The teenager doesn't offer an immediate response. Her reaction is to first look for the kids before approaching the woman perched on a chair. "What's going on, Sam," Koshka asks quietly, concern laced through her tone. "Did someone… what's wrong?"

"Things have changed," is the reply. There's a distance in Sam's tone, a purposeful distance. She can't let herself take solace here, not like this. Not when the kids will feel more uprooted than ever. She needs to keep it together. At least when they're watching. Her head turns to face Koshka, her own shock and ambiguity lacing through her face, but that tight-lipped non-smile remains.

"I need you to do more. I— " Sami swallows hard and shakes her head tightly as she actually frowns. Her eyes blink fiercely, but no tears come, she'd run out by the time she'd woke the kids up. "Things have changed," she repeats, quieter this time. "Brian's gone."

It takes a long moment for Koshka to process the information, her focus intent on Samara. Things have changed is probably the best way to put it, and the words eventually have her nodding. "You can trust me. I'll… I'll take care of things. This place won't fall and… It'll be okay."

Another glance toward the hall shows that the children are still off and playing. Koshka takes another step closer and reaches to pull Sam into a hug. "It'll be okay, Sami," she repeats quietly, determined to stay hopeful. "Where'd Brian go? It… wasn't the flu, was it?"

In many ways Samara is in shock— the kind of shock that numbs a person's entire system. Her fingers cinch together into a tight knot amid her knees while her eyes return to the wall, a careful consideration of everything that's happening. "The kids— " her voice is rough, laden with edges born from too many tears too early, a hoarseness associated with dryness, "— they," her head shakes. It's too much to handle too soon.

The question itself has her hand drawing to the side of her head, the memory of cold metal pressed against it is enough to leave her in want. "It wasn't the flu," she virtually whispers, there is no reassurance in her voice. And then, as if acknowledging something for the first time she sighs the words, "He didn't know who I was."

Aborting the hug before completion, made unsure by the leadenness of Samara's demeanor at how well it would truly be received, Koshka settles for pulling an arm around her shoulder. "The kids are fine," she says softly. "They'll be taken care of, I promise." It'll be a juggle keeping Brian's disappearance secret. At least until she's sure they can be told something, and even then she's not sure how well they'd believe her.

Koshka gently squeezes Sami's shoulders when she admits Brian didn't know her, pulling her more into a one-armed hug as much as she's allowed. "I'm sorry, Sami," she whispers, trying to sound strong rather than the worry she feels. "I'm sorry… We'll… we'll get answers. It… we'll fix this and… It'll be okay."

The arm around her shoulder isn't unappreciated, just not really acknowledged. The distance that's settled over Sami is one of sheer determination, designed to be the caregiver rather than cared for. "I'm okay," she lies unconvincingly. "I'll be okay," she manages more confidently with the slightest curl of her lips. It's still not quite a smile, not genuinely so, but it's there.

"I'll need help," she murmurs while her hands unfold, resting along her knees. "I need help," figuring out what's going on. Of course, that's not as much for Koshka's domain as her own. "Well.. " her lips press together tightly. "What if something happened? Like.. what if someone took him on or something? Is that— " no. Not the question to ask. Her head shakes as she extends her legs, planting her feet on the floor. "If they ask where he is.. he just went back to the island. If they ask why— " why would a man who can be everywhere at once not be here. "— just give the standard we don't know." She sighs again. "They can't.. they lost one of their own. They lost their home. They can't lose one of the few sources of stability they have right now— " Which brings another thought to mind, "Eric needs to stay." And then another, "The babies— what if— " she frowns. If one version of Brian can't remember her, would all of them retreated into crazy suit gun guy?

Nodding, Koshka offers another small shoulder squeeze. Her mind mulls over the same fears, though she refuses to voice them. "We can bring the babies here. It's safer for now, and… All the girls should stick to one room for sleeping, and Mister Eric can be in with the boys." Safety in numbers, though it'll clue the kids off that something is happening. But it's better than wondering and worrying. "We'll let the network know, too. They need to know what's going on if they don't already."

Another quick squeeze and Koshka's stepping away from Sami. Dishes will have to wait, there are things to do, more important than clean eating surfaces. "I can go get the babies if you'd rather stay here. I can ask Adisa to help. And I'll… I'll figure out how to let some of the Ferry know what's going on."

"You— " she begins only to nod slightly. At least to part of the suggestion only to stop. "No.. no Chinatown until…" Brian had a gun pressed to her head, a detail she conveniently left out. If anyone can survive a bullet it's a phaser, at least she has a good chance of 'dodging' it. "I'll talk to Eric, but you… can connect with some of the Ferry. I'll do what I can… I'll get in touch any way that I can," Sam's not without resources in that regard. "And.. that will be.." what it will be. She nods slightly as she slides off the chair, bound for the room she used to share with Brian. "I.." she swallows hard. "We'll get everyone arranged to move rooms in anticipation." Of the babies. If. If. Maybe it was just a fluke?

Her steps carry her quietly back towards the master bedroom. "I.." she begins only to stop midsentence. She doesn't know if she'll be able to sleep in there. But it is what it is. For now her head just shakes as she retreats to change into respectable clothes. There's work to be done.

"You're not going there alone," Koshka calls after Sam. If it's dangerous, there's no way on earth she's letting Samara go by herself. "I'm going with you." Casting a final look at the dishes, she scowls briefly then heads down the hall to get herself set to go. "Let Mister Eric know he needs to watch the kids, and then together we'll go back to Chinatown." Safety in numbers.

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